Monday, February 23, 2009

Technology and Fieldtrips in Ghana, all in a Sunday's Work for Project HOPE Volunteers

It's Sunday but there's no rest for the weary today if you are part of Project HOPE or any Africa Partnership Station Staff. Tomorrow volunteers start working in their respective places so everything that can possibly be in place needs to be. This meant today we had to get our Internet access from the USS Nashville staff so we could access email and such and then head out to the different locations Project HOPE would be working.

Group one which will be lead by Dr. Brian Crawford, an emergency medicine physician from Colorado, will be working at the Effia-Nkwanta Regional Hospital (ENRH). He will be joined by ER nurse Donna Featherstone, midwives Lara Holbrook and Jennifer Oh, pharmacist Earl Rogers, and physical therapist Beth Habelow. ENRH is a big hospital that also includes a nursing and midwifery training college where the midwives will be training students (for this component they will also be joined by Ruth Madison, MPH). They will also be helping deliver babies or as some midwives say "catching babies". Brian and Donna will be working in the small emergency room; Earl will be working with the 9 pharmacists. Beth will be seeing perhaps both in and out PT patients.

We actually got to meet the health administrator today for the hospital. A couple of things Mr. Micah told us about ENRH are:

  • the name of the hospital means on junction of two cities, it was named that because of this place between Sekondi and Takoradi
  • it has 416 beds, 35 doctors including a medical director
  • the hospital serves two counties and therefore is represented by two members of parliament and is state hospital
  • while it is not a teaching hospital it takes new medical school graduates for one to two years for training
  • ENRH was established in 1938 by the British as a transition point for the British Military before they went on to other countries, the hospital's age and the fact that was created to be a hospital means its infrastructure is a problem
  • 135,000 people receive outpatient care per year, 14,000 are admitted into the hospital and about 2,000 babies are born a year or 5.5 a day
  • ENRH serves a whole state which means some of the population who would get services there would have to travel from as far as 9 hours away to get them
  • impressively they give free treatment to TB and HIV/AIDS patients, free prenatal care, have one 24 hour pharmacist with one pharmacy especially dedicated to neonatal care, and 24 hour emergency obstetrics

The ENRH campus is quite large, with lots of buildings serving different purposes and while it is worn it is in much better shape than other places HOPE volunteers have worked.

The second group will head right down the road to the small Essikado Hospital. The group working at the pink, grey and other bright colored building will be lead by Dr. Michael Polifka, an emergency medicine physician from Vermont. He will be joined by pediatric nurse practitioner Gabriel Seibel, certified nurse midwife Marilyn Ringstaff, registered nurse Joanne Machin and x-ray technician Marina Rivera. Although the place has an operating theater it functions more like a clinic. Because it was Sunday we got a tour but were unable to meet with someone like Mr. Micah at ENRH who gave us more information about the facility.

All of our volunteers will be working side-by-side with their counterparts to provide training and mentoring to them while still offering care to the local population.

When we got back to the Nashville it was close to dinner time or chow time as they call it here. Some volunteers made and excursion to a place called “Monkey Hill” which is suppose to be a place to see monkeys but from what I have heard they only saw two monkeys and one headed up the tree as soon as they saw it. The guide they negotiated with said it was because of the color of their white skin. None the less they had fun hanging out, as did the rest of the volunteers. I believe we are all ready to get started tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!


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